Alabamians urged to end water drips when temperature rises above freezing

ADEM reports multiple public water systems are struggling to provide service amid excessive water loss
Published: Dec. 27, 2022 at 5:58 AM CST|Updated: Dec. 27, 2022 at 6:17 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabamians are being urged to stop dripping their faucets as soon as temperatures rise above freezing.

While the drip can help prevent pipes from freezing and bursting, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management says it’s creating another problem; the excessive water loss is straining many public water systems’ ability to provide services.

[READ MORE: Deep freeze causing water issues in multiple areas in west, central Alabama]

“Water utilities across the state are struggling to keep up with increased consumer demand, exacerbated by leaks from frozen pipes as they thaw,” ADEM said. “The public can help by checking for leaks inside and outside of their homes or businesses. If leaks are found, they should shut off the water supply until the leaks are repaired. Customers are urged to contact their local water supplier if they have a major leak and are unable to shut off their water supply or need other assistance.”

ADEM also recommends installing insulated covers over outside faucets instead of dripping those. Those inexpensive covers can be found at most home improvement stores.

Businessowners are being urged to turn off the water at the meter “if water service is not imperative at your building during this time.” ADEM recommends you “drain the water lines at the lowest spigot on the property, leaving the faucet on, and turn the water back on after the outside temperature rises above 32 degrees.”

ADEM has received reports of issues for the following systems and is in the process of contacting water systems for additional information.

  • Marbury Water System ( Autauga County) – Frozen pipes; customers currently have water but levels are decreasing. (12/25/22 4:16 PM)
  • Leighton Water Works (Colbert County) – 50 customers without water; frozen pipes appear to be the issue. (12/25/22 4:15 PM)
  • Owassa-Brownsville Water Authority (Conecuh County) – Contractor to install pump 12/27/22, tanks are gaining, repair to 6″ line scheduled for 12/27/22 AM. (12/26/22 6:03 PM)
  • Selma Water Works (Dallas County) – Per tweet, Mayor has declared state of emergency due to leaks. (12/25/22 4:41 PM)
  • Reform Water & Sewer Board Pickens County) – ARWA is assisting; several leaks have been found and repaired; significant progress has been made. (12/26:22 5:00 PM)
  • Tallassee Water Works (Elmore County) – Unknown number customers without water; damage reported; Update: Reportedly Montgomery is providing a suction pump for assistance. (12/26/22 5:00 PM)
  • Lagrange Mountain Water Authority (Colbert) – Currently estimates 15% of customers are without water; the water systems they purchase from cannot supply enough water. (12/26/22 4:56 PM)
  • City of Talladega (Talladega County) – System has lost pressure, issued conservation notice and boil water notice. (12/26/22 3:12 PM)
  • Wedowee Water, Sewer & Gas Board (Randolph County) – States that lake level is too low for pumps; unknown number of customers without water. (12/25/22 5:24 PM)
  • Cumberland Mountain Water (Jackson County) – Out of water in part of system because tank is empty; filling now, will take about 3 hours. (12/26/22 9:43 AM)
  • Talladega County Water System – Unknown number of customers without water; excessive consumption reported. (12/25/22 9:46 PM)
  • Waldo Water System (Talladega County) – Entire system is without water due to issues with Talladega. (12/27/22 7:14 AM)
  • Town of Hayneville (Lowndes County) – ARWA reports improvement to tank level, will continue to monitor. ADEM received reports of water out in Letohatchee since 12/22/22. (12/26/22 1:33 PM)
  • Notasulga Water System (Macon County) – ARWA reports boil Water Notice Issued, waiting on Tallassee to provide service. Still having issues per EMA. (12/26/22 6:41 PM)
  • Wall Street Water Authority (Tallapoosa County) - ARWA reports boil Water Notice Issued, waiting on Tallassee to provide service. (12/26/22 9:50 AM)
  • Eclectic Water Works and Sewer Board (Elmore County) – ARWA reports they are not receiving water from Tallassee but are presently holding steady. (12/26/22 11:00 AM)
  • Marion County Public Water Authority – System reports 4-500 customers without water; outage due to lack of supply from Hamilton. (12/26/22 10:11 AM)
  • Alexander City Water Department (Tallapoosa County) – Plant is operating at reduced capacity due to distribution issues. Repairs are underway to two 8″ water mains. System tanks are empty. (12/26/22 7:13 PM)
  • Camden Water and Sewer Dept (Wilcox Co.) – Unknown number of customers without water. (12/26/22 5:57 PM)
  • Wilcox County Water Authority – ARWA reports the Oak Hill area is out of water due to a chlorinator failure, but is expected to be back in service soon. Butler County cannot supply water to this area at the moment. The Vredenburgh well cannot meet demand to its service area. The Gees Bend well cannot keep up with demand in its service area. UPDATE 12/26/22 6:03 PM: chlorinator repairs in progress. (12/26/22 1:27 PM)
  • Allgood Water Works (Blount Co.) – ARWA reports tank levels low. They are looking for leaks and will report if problem gets worse. (12/26/22 1:33 PM)
  • West Morgan – East Lawrence Water Authority (Morgan County) - Rolling blackouts have resulted in reduced production. Moulton’s supply was temporarily reduced. (12/26/22 1:33 PM)
  • Chisholm Heights Water & FP Authority (Lauderdale County) – Reports problems with excessive consumption due to weather. (12/26/22 12:06 PM)
  • Colbert County Rural Water System – EMA reports lower pressure due to leaks and excessive usage. Some customers at higher elevations have little to no pressure. (12/26/22 2:35 PM)
  • Goodwater Water Works and Sewer Board (Coosa County) – Reports 850 customers without water, due to lack of supply. (12/26/22 5:28 PM)
  • Kellyton Water System (Coosa County) – Reports 660 customers without water.
  • Ray Water Authority (Coosa County) – Has water issues per ARWA. (12/26/22 5:00 PM)
  • Northwest St. Clair Water System (St. Clair County) – Has requested 70KW generator; ARWA is providing. (12/26/22 5:00 PM)
  • Macon County Water Authority – Per EMA, unable to supply customers. (12/26/22 6:41 PM)
  • Sumter County Water Authority – Estimates 100-200 customers without water due to excess consumption. (12/26/22 3:52 PM)

Alabama isn’t alone in its struggle surrounding freezing and broken pipes. Cities across the Southeast are experiencing similar situations.

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